Thirty media professionals active in the anthroposophical field (KOPRA) met for a joint exchange after two years of physical Covid abstinence. Clout, inner dialogue, and dealing with anti-anthroposophy activists were the core topics of the meeting.
At the end of April, Demeter’s premises in Berlin Neuköln were the meeting place for editors and public relations officers. There was a lot to discuss with the many media criticisms of anthroposophy in the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022, Russia’s war of aggression, and the ‹post-Covid period›. It was reported that the questions of some TV stations show that it is perceived that there is hardly any dialogue in the anthroposophical movement with representatives of extreme attitudes in its own ranks on Covid or the Ukraine war. It would be desirable to be able to report on such discussion efforts. Detlef Hardorp called for a faster reaction to misrepresentations, to «develop more clout». Sebastian Knust, responsible for public relations at the Anthroposophical Society Germany, reported on the collaboration with the media scientist Prof. Christoph Fasel and the assignment to have the sources used by the media, such as the portrayal of the (self-proclaimed) critic Oliver Rautenberg, examined by the Institute for Consumer Journalism (ifv). Result of the report:
• no proper separation of facts and opinions
• one-sided selection of content
• concealment of facts well worth seeing
• no confrontation of the attacked institution
• questionable factual claims.
Journalism expert Fasel mentioned a particularly critical point: «We have to assume that Rautenberg presumably even makes and spreads false factual claims!» German regional courts will examine this. The attacks on Anthroposophy do not seem to remain without consequences in the training institutions due to lower registrations.
The increase in sales at Demeter was gratifying, as Alexander Gerber, CEO of Demeter Germany, reported. Demeter’s major retail customers took the media storm calmly. Several in the group advised against engaging in a debate about quotes from Rudolf Steiner in the event of criticism. Annette Bopp, co-organizer of the meeting, outlined the changed way how media institutions work. Journalists and filmmakers are sent out to get a certain ‹story›. The interviews often served to confirm a fixed message. This means that detailed informal conversations with journalists are delicate. At the following meetings, the group of media professionals wants to shed self-critical light on crisis communication.
Image Half a round of anthroposophical media professionals; Photo: Wolfgang Held – Translation: Monika Werner